Hairspray opens this weekend and I’m ambivalent about it. I’m trying to understand Hollywood’s new predilection toward taking movies that were turned into splashy Broadway musicals BACK into movies for a new generation. They did it once with The Producers with marginal success. But I don’t think anyone watched that movie and thought it was better than the Broadway production. Or better than the Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder original, for that matter.

Not to say that it isn’t encouraging to see properties created by Mel Brooks and John Waters receive wider recognition, but one has to assume that the Law of Diminishing Returns will take hold at some point. How good can a movie based on a play, based on a movie really be? I mean, who is it supposed to appeal to? Fans of the Broadway musical? Because that’s probably the closest iteration. But how many people have actually seen the show in New York or it’s traveling tour? Certainly they’re not trying to capture the imagination of fans of the John Waters original. It’s a completely different monster.

According to the reviews assembled so far over at Rotten Tomatoes, Hairspray is absolutely perfect with a 100% rating. I don’t want to take away from anyone who has seen previews of the movie and enjoyed it. but that 100% makes me suspicious.
Maybe it’s just me.

Incidentally, if you want to get a sense of what John Waters is all about, go rent Pink Flamingos to see the infamous scene Tom refers to in today’s comic. It’s mind-bending – particularly within the context of some of Waters later films – Hairspray and Cry-Baby among them. It makes you realize how particularly subversive his brand of comedy is when compared to the depravity of his roots. It’s all great stuff – even when he plays it straight. Check it out.

As a side note, I’m writing today’s blog courtesy of the magic of Wi-Fi from Columbus, Ohio. I’m in town for three days for a conference sponsored by the company I work for in my 9 to 5. It’s cool traveling on someone else’s dime even when it really isn’t a vacation because it kind of makes you feel like a big shot. I don’t get the opportunity to travel in this capacity very often, so there’s a bit of a rush traveling on the corporate jet and staying in your own hotel room. I don’t know if one might consider that provincial thinking or not. “I flew in an air-eeo-plane!”

I can’t see business travel being very fulfilling long-term. I don’t like the idea of being away from Cami or Henry this long. It’s a little lonely, I guess. And I’m beat. I’m going to iron a few shirts and go to bed. How exciting is that?

See all of you again soon!

↓ Transcript
So John Travolta is dressing in drag to play Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. A role originated by the transvestite performer Devine in the original movie almost 20 years ago.

Yeah, so?

The same performer who famously ate dog feces on camera in John Watters Pink Flamingos…

What are you getting at?

Do you think there’s any chance John Travolta will follow in her footsteps and eat a huge dog turd?

Uhhh, no!

He already did that when he made Battlefield Earth, honey!